This past weekend I took an excursion to a secluded beach on Longboat Key. At least I thought it would be secluded. As it turned out I was only one of about a dozen photographers there. One was doing an engagement shoot, one a maternity shoot, a couple were shooting landscapes and finally a camera club showed up as well. There was a spectacular sunset so I’m pretty sure everyone got good shots and left happy. I know I did.
This beach is only accessible by boat or hike; it’s not right off the highway like most beaches in this area. At less trafficked shorelines like this you can usually see remnants of past hurricanes. There are spots like this up and down the coast if you know where to look. They are reminders of big events, especially as it pertains to tropical storms altering the landscape of the coast.
This was one of my last shots before hiking back. I got plenty of others but the simplicity of this scene is what I was drawn to. It’s rare that trees or stumps are isolated so I’m always on the lookout for them as photographic subjects. Simplicity resonates in images because it naturally invites interpretation.
At low tide the beach is exposed where these trees stand, but this was high tide and the beach was completely covered by the sea. However I was standing at a line of mangroves that protect the rest of the island from erosion. If it weren’t for the mangroves there would be nothing left of barrier islands along the coast of Florida.
Here's another image I took while walking around central Amsterdam in the early morning hours. I was only here for a week so I made the decision to stay on North American time. That meant I was still wide awake very late which works well for night photography. I could capture the lights reflecting on the still waters of the canals to my heart's content.
A couple of times I left my tripod back at the hotel. To get these long exposures without shaking the camera I would make due by balancing it on a bike seat. All of the little bridges have bikes leaning against the railings. All I had to do was pick one with a relatively wide seat and gingerly set the camera down. I used a wireless trigger so that I didn't need to touch the camera to activate the shutter.
That little system worked quite well and to be honest, it's a technique I've used in many other places as well. I don't always want to bring a tripod especially when shooting street scenes at night. For that I'm grateful for the high ISO performance of Sony cameras, it allows me to do things that were unheard of just a few years ago. For street photography you want to travel light and be able to react quickly.
Yet when I'm out walking around I'll invariably see something like this scene and I wish I had a tripod. Then it becomes a little game of figuring out what I can use to stabilize the camera. I use all manner of things like balancing on a fence railing, stabilizing the lens with the camera strap, even placing the camera on the ground and shooting up.
As a result I'm hard on camera bodies. They get scratched quite a bit. But for me the scratches on my camera body are like notches on a belt. It's funny but a scratched up camera feels to me like a comfortable set of well worn shows; we've seen a lot together.
I took this shortly after sunrise as our cruise ship entered port in Nassau. As yachts go this is pretty big, I'm not sure if this is a government craft or just one of the many super-yachts of the Bahamas.
It got me thinking about why people own these. Personally, I don't think I would want one. I've been on rough seas on a big cruise ship and I certainly would not want to go through that on a small boat. The sea does not care how fancy a yacht is, it will be tossed around like a toy.
I had the same thought when we passed other big yachts near the Atlantis Resort and Casino. Maybe the people that have these only sail in fair weather and remain close to home. That I could understand. They are awesome to look at but I think they are no match for the wrath of the sea.
My hat is off to fishermen who work the seas for their livelihood like the guys on The Deadliest Catch. Watching that freaks me out a little. How they manage through storms is beyond me.
I think this attitude of mine comes from a fear of falling into the ocean and drowning. It might stem from an incident when I was an infant and almost drowned. Although I don't remember it, I was apparently face down and sinking in a lake.
Anyway, I have nothing against these high-end boats. If I did have one I'd be having fair-weather parties on it all the time. However at the first sign of a storm you'd find me firmly on land. In the meantime I'll just stick to cruise ships and buy crab legs from a store. I'm not really in the market for one of these anytime soon.